Inaugural Cohort for Raise Your Hand Texas’ Trustee Advocates Program Announced

January 31, 2022 |
Nine Districts, Representing the Diversity of Texas, Selected Among 27 Applicants
Program Will Train District, Community Leaders to Educate, Engage, and Activate to Support Public Education at the State Capitol

CONTACT: Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR
[email protected], (512)784-3805

Editor’s Note: The strength of Raise Your Hand Texas’ Trustee Advocates Program is the team approach that includes both the superintendent and the school board leading the development of an advocacy plan and overseeing its implementation within the district. The Superintendent is a critical part of the district’s advocacy team. The departure of Dr. Stephanie Elizalde impacts Austin ISD’s ability to continue participating in the current cohort of the Trustee Advocacy Program. As of June 8, 2022, the first cohort of participants will continue in the program without Austin ISD as a member.

AUSTIN, TX (January 31, 2022) –

Raise Your Hand Texas today announced nine Texas public school districts that will comprise the inaugural cohort of their Trustee Advocates Program. This new Raise Your Hand Texas initiative will train Texas school districts and their locally-elected trustees to educate, engage and activate their school districts and local communities to amplify their voices in state public education policy and advocacy.

“After a competitive selection process that demonstrated considerable appetite and interest from across our state in building a meaningful advocacy program, we welcome this inaugural class of districts representing the diversity of our great state,” said Dr. Libby Cohen, Raise Your Hand Texas’ director of advocacy and outreach.

Twenty-seven school districts from all regions of the state applied, and Raise Your Hand Texas leadership selected nine school districts through the application and interview process. Competitive grants for the inaugural program cohort are awarded to:

Representing Major Urban or Major Suburban Districts

  • Austin ISD
  • Lake Worth ISD
  • Katy ISD

Representing Other Central City or Other Central City Suburban Cities and Towns

  • Amarillo ISD
  • Ector County ISD
  • Gregory-Portland ISD

Non-Metropolitan or Rural Districts

  • DeKalb ISD
  • Tornillo ISD
  • San Elizario ISD

“School trustees provide education oversight and citizen governance to their public schools and larger communities,” added Cohen. “These local leaders bring critically important expertise and insight that will be valuable to state policymakers.”

Over the course of the innovative, inaugural 18-month fellowship, Trustee Advocates will learn to build a local public education advocacy network that encourages community connectedness and influences state legislative outcomes. Trustees and Superintendents will have the opportunity to learn and build relationships with others across Texas, as well. 

“Supporting and strengthening our schools takes all of us, and the Trustee Advocates Program will help equip these local leaders to amplify the voices of their communities at the Capitol,” said Missy Bender, trustee-in-residence and regional advocacy director for Raise Your Hand Texas.

The Trustee Advocates Program is issue-based and non-partisan. The program will be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. As a Texas Education Agency-registered provider of continuing education, Raise Your Hand Texas will award continuing education credit to participants for the hours spent in training.

For more information about the program, visit https://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/advocacy/trustee-advocacy-program.

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Raise Your Hand Texas supports public policy solutions that invest in our students, encourage innovation and autonomy, and improve college and workforce readiness. For more information, visit RaiseYourHandTexas.org.

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